Rolando Villazon defends the UK TV show Pop Star to Opera Star
No sooner had the first episode ... aired then the sacred gates of the opera world opened, revealing a resounding chorus of disapproving voices. Among them, one stood out: Rupert Christiansen not only expressed his disgust and insulted all participants; he even wished doom on the entire project.
Why are the critics so angry? What do they fear? ... Popstar to Operastar is not a high-brow educational programme and it never claimed to be ... Opera is not in danger. Instead, perhaps we all could try to reduce the divide between the wider public and what is often - and wrongly - perceived as an elitist and inaccessible art form ...
Opera is treated with nothing but respect and admiration by the contestants in the programme. They have recognised its challenges and have been amazed and overjoyed by what they have discovered. That sincerity and curiosity have been the real discovery for me ...
As much as I can appreciate Mr. Villazon's reasoning, I'd be able to buy more of it were the show in question just a wee bit
My big problem with the show is that, except for the material being sung, it's really just another Whatever's Got Talent, or Whoever Idol -- lots of makeup, lighting, swirling camera angles, souped up arrangements, and an absurdly screaming studio audience. Putting a more substantive veneer on the product surely wouldn't hurt the ratings that much.
I don't really have trouble accepting the basic, fish-out-of-water premise of the show -- but, then again, I'm one of three people in the universe who love Barbra Streisand's classical music album. I think it's kinda cool when pop singers stretch. There still needs to be a credible artistic point to that exercise, though, and that's what I couldn't quite get from what I saw of this new show.
No one detests the elitist label on classical music more than I do, but I'm not crazy about seeing it treated like just any old form of entertainment, either.
PHOTO OF ROLANDO VILLAZON © Felix Broede / DG